The neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, more commonly known as ALS, has gotten a lot of public attention ever since the Ice Bucket Challenge gained internet fame in 2014. In the wake of this newfound interest, several ALS-related documentaries have been released which explore the impact of this disease on individuals and families. Check out these documentaries featuring subjects with ALS.
At the age of 34, Steve Gleason, former NFL defensive back and New Orleans hero, was diagnosed with ALS. Doctors gave him two to five years to live. So that is what Steve chose to do: live. This film incorporates personal video journals from Gleason for his then-unborn son to footage of his adventures undertaken as part of his mission to live his life to the fullest. Continue reading “Ice Bucket List: Docs Featuring Subjects With ALS”
The birth of a new child is an exciting event. Documentaries involving births can capture the excitement and drama involved in the process, but they can also offer unique perspectives to future parents and their families. Check out these documentaries focusing on births. Continue reading “Little Kicks: Docs Focusing On Childbirth”
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Documentaries on the subject can give perspective to not only those contemplating suicide, but friends, family, and caregivers as well. Check out these documentaries about suicide.
“The Departure” (2017)
A former punk-turned-Buddhist-priest in Japan has made a career out of helping suicidal people find reasons to live. But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health. This film captures him at a crossroads, leading him to confront the same question his patients ask him: what makes life worth living?
“Kate Plays Christine” (2016)
A gripping, nonfiction psychological thriller, Robert Greene’s film follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares for her next role: playing Christine Chubbuck, a Florida newscaster who committed suicide live on-air in 1974. As Kate investigates Chubbuck’s story uncovering new clues and information, she becomes increasingly obsessed with her subject.
“How To Die In Oregon” (2012)
In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. As a result, any individual whom two physicians diagnose as having less than six months to live can lawfully request a fatal dose of barbiturate to end his or her life. This film gently enters the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether, and when, to end their lives by lethal overdose.
Some documentaries take very little time to shoot, while others can take decades. For these longer films, directors undertake the tough process of sorting the quality from the quantity in order to create unique testaments to their subjects. Check out these documentaries that were filmed over long periods of time. Continue reading “Long Story Short: Docs Filmed Over Long Periods Of Time”
Musicians who have problems with substance abuse often make tragic headlines with their struggles. Documentaries can provide a unique view of these individuals not only in their lowest moments with drugs, but also at their heights as they triumphantly take the stage to perform. Check out these documentaries featuring musicians dealing with addiction.
“Last Days Here” (2012)
A look at the life of Bobby Liebling, lead singer of seminal hard rock/heavy metal band Pentagram, as he battles decades of hard drug addiction and personal demons, to try and get his life back. The film chronicles the triumphs and downfalls of this underground icon who finds himself at the crossroads of life and death. Continue reading “Sounds & Substances: Docs Featuring Musicians Dealing With Addiction”
Writers face many struggles in their chosen craft. How do they get inspiration and explore their chosen subjects? How do they portray themselves to get an audience? Check out these documentaries about writers.
“City of Gold” (2016)
Acclaimed food writer Jonathan Gold sets off on a journey to explore the panoply of regional cuisines and trademark dishes to be found within the vast urban sprawl of Los Angeles. With eternal curiosity, razor-sharp intellect, and existential longing, Gold is a culinary geographer taking us where no critic has gone before. Continue reading “The Write Stuff: Docs About Authors”
People create fake identities for various reasons. In the case of the documentary films below, these fakers wish to expose something to the audience through their trickery. Check out this list of docs that feature various kinds of fakers.
“The Ambassador” (2012)
This is a darkly comic, genre-bending piece of gonzo journalism from international provocateur Mads Brügger. He disguises himself as a European ambassador to expose the business of selling diplomatic titles that allows wealthy businessmen to exploit the resources of Third World nations.
Follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he transforms himself into a wise Indian guru, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith. Instead, he finds himself forging profound connections with people from all walks of life — and wondering if and when to reveal his true self.
“Czech Dream” (2007)
Documents the largest consumer hoax the Czech Republic has ever seen. Two of Eastern Europe’s most promising young documentary filmmakers set out to explore the psychological and manipulative powers of consumerism by creating an ad campaign for a super store that didn’t exist.
Cities can inspire hopes and dreams, so it’s no surprise that they also can inspire fantasy lives as well. This collection of documentaries offers up a unique blend of facts and fantasies involving cities in Canada.
“Seth’s Dominion” (2016)
Director Luc Chamberland sheds light on the cartoonist Seth, mixing insightful biography with vivid animation and exploring his model city named Dominion that Seth has been building for the last 10 years. In this deft portrait, Seth proves to be a wry and engaging narrator of his life story and artistic process. Continue reading “Northern Lights: Docs Featuring Canadian Cities”
Being a gamer can challenge your cognitive ability and your dexterity, but it can also be a challenge to your social skills. How can gamers interact constructively with others while still maintaining their competitive edge? Check out these documentaries about various kinds of gamers.
“Wizard Mode” (2016)
This film is a candid personal perspective on autism through the life of one of the world’s greatest pinball players. The film follows Robert Gagno as he seeks to balance his quest to become a world pinball champion and his growing real world responsibilities, culminating at the largest pinball tournament in the world. Continue reading “Playing Along: Docs About Gamers”